By and large, vehicle recalls are ultimately undesirable for automakers, and can induce a great deal of anxiety among consumers. That owes largely to the fact that cars are made to ensure that people are transported safely across different destinations, and that they do not come in cheap at all, both in terms of the purchase price and the maintenance and repair needed. Cars are generally seen as important investments, and unless you are filthy rich, purchasing a car for your specific purpose is not a task you can easily decide on in one go. These reasons make vehicle recalls a great deal to consider among consumers, and automakers are equally scandalized once they find out that they need to recall their automobiles for free repair and replacement.
The Takata airbags recalls, which is still ongoing, emerges as perhaps the most damaging case of vehicle recalls in recent times. With 19 automakers and millions of cars involved across model years 2002 to 2015, the Takata airbags recalls inflicted severe financial and reputational damage on the part of automakers and auto supplies giant Takata itself, as those also led to both injuries and casualties. Such was the severity of the Takata airbags recalls that it led to Takata filing for bankruptcy, following a $1 billion fine imposed by the court unto them for damages. But the fate that befell Takata was not the first of its kind in history, as other automotive companies have figured in vehicle recalls and went through the same cycle of incurring both financial loss and reputational damage. Here is a list of the 5 vehicle recalls that rocked much of the automotive world.
- Ford transmission recall (1980)
Ford, one of the world’s largest automakers and America’s pioneering motoring brand, has figured in a number of high-provide vehicle recalls. One early, and severe, example is Ford’s problem with its transmission. It was found in 1980 that several Ford vehicles have defective transmission systems, whose lack of a properly-working safety catch led to the switch from Park mode to Reverse. Such has led to a total of more than 6,000 accidents, an estimated 1,700 injuries, and around 98 deaths, prompting Ford to repair more than 20 million affected cars free of charge.
- Takata seatbelt recall (1995)
It is not the first time for Takata, a major Japanese car parts supplier, to be involved in a recall scandal of the same scale as that of its airbags less than two years ago. In fact, more than a decade earlier, Takata found itself on the wrong end of the headlines when several of the seatbelts it has supplied to numerous automakers were found to be defective, causing passengers and drivers alike to be trapped on their seats due to the jamming of locking mechanisms. Takata offered replacements to eight million affected vehicles to the tune of $1 billion – one that may prove to be much bigger in today’s inflated terms.
- Ford ignition recall (1996)
Equally dangerous to the transmission problem Ford rectified back in 1980 is the ignition problem it remedied in 1996. Several vehicles produced and sold by Ford in the late 1980s were found to have ignition problems, which led to consumers experiencing overheating. The effects of the ignition problem, ranging from quick overheating to fires burning down part or a large part of the vehicle, led Ford to issue vehicle recalls soon enough before any injury or casualty was ever reported. Nonetheless, that set back Ford an uncool $200 million for repairs and replacements.
- Ford cruise control recall (1996)
1996 proved to be a highly-unlucky year for Ford. Apart from the transmission problem the American marque has confronted, it also had to deal with problems regarding its cruise control system after a space of just a few months. With over 14 million vehicles found to be affected, Ford’s cruise control recalls led the automaker to shell out $280 million in repairs. The problem stemmed from a faulty electronic device that deactivates the cruise control system, which was found to overheat and cause fires in some unfortunate cases.
- Toyota gas pedal recall (2009-2010)
Toyota has been generally regarded by American consumers as among the most reliable automakers to sell in the US. However, such praise may have been affected in one way or another when Toyota figured in perhaps its costliest recall of defective vehicles to date. Around 60 reports of Toyota vehicles having gas pedals that would simply jam and not return to its original position were received between 2009 and 2010, causing inadvertent acceleration leading to crashes. Given that there has been at least one case of wrongful death reported, alongside the sheer danger imposed by the problem, Toyota spent within the region of $5 billion for vehicle recalls.